Robert Hall Baker, 84, a resident of Elkins and a well-known former chief of the Elkins Fire Department, departed this life Sunday morning, Feb. 16, 2014, in Valentine's Personal Care Home at Elkins. He had been in declining health, and death was attributed to pancreatic cancer.
He was born Monday, Oct. 7, 1929, a son of the late Walter Henry Baker and Mayple Faith Godwin Baker.
On Feb. 23, 1957, at Elkins, he was married to the former Joan Beverly Poe, who survives. They had celebrated 56 years of marriage.
Also surviving are one daughter, Rebecca Jae Whiteman and husband, Gary, of Elkins; one grandson, Joel Thomas Whiteman and wife, Clemence Cretaux, of Morgantown; sister-in-law, Patricia Baker; and seven nephews and six nieces.
He is the last surviving member of his immediate family, having been preceded in death by one brother, Charles H. Baker; and two sisters, Mary A. Kelley and Elizabeth Iosabaker.
He was a graduate of Elkins High School with the class of 1948 and attended Davis & Elkins College. He was a veteran of the United States Air Force, serving during the Korean Conflict, with the 2nd Aviation Field Depot Squadron, with his overseas duty being security in England. He worked as a carman for Western Maryland Railroad, deputy for the Randolph County Sheriff's Office, Evans Stockyards, Kelly Foundry, Metal-Labcraft, Myron Gibson Paint Contractor, and retired Dec. 31, 1991 after serving as maintenance superintendent of The Housing Authority of the city of Elkins. (Gateway Apartments) for 18 years. Following retirement, he served as a private building inspector. He was on the planning committee for the Robert C. Byrd Corridor H Authority for many years. He was a member of First Baptist Church of Elkins, where he served as deacon, trustee, church moderator, Men's Fellowship president, Men's Chorus and known as Mr. Christmas Basket of the Church, the Elkins Volunteer Fire Department for 32 and a half years. He achieved the rank of fire chief for eight years, received the Randolph County Fireman of the Year Award in 1989 and continued as an honorary member. He was a member of Elkins Lions Club since July 3, 1963, having served in all the club offices, served on the District Committee of West Virginia Lions Sight Foundation, received Lion of the Year Award from the local club, received the highest Lions International Award, The Melvin Jones Fellow; received the highest State Award, The Leonard Jarret, and received a life membership from Lions International Board of Directors and actively helped with club chicken barbecues. He was a member of the American Red Cross blood donor, having donated many times. He was a member of the H.W. Daniels Post 29 American Legion, Woodmen of the World, Lodge 6065, currently holding office of president, former vice president and Emergency Disaster Relief Committee chairman and received the State Woodmen Fraternal Spirit Award, The Helping Hand Clearinghouse, where he served on the board, Elkins High Alumni Association, West Virginia Farm Bureau, The Randolph County Senior Center, Rich Mountain Battlefield Foundation Inc., Western Maryland Railway Historical Society, West Virginia Public Employees Retirement System Association, served on the Firemen's Civil Service Committee for the city of Elkins, the 4-H All Stars, and he enjoyed helping with the annual Ox-Roast at Camp Pioneer.
The family will receive friends at Lohr & Barb Funeral Home of Elkins Wednesday from 5-8 p.m. On Thursday, Feb. 20, Mr. Baker will be moved to First Baptist Church of Elkins, where a life celebration service will be conducted at 11:30 a.m. The casket will remain closed at the church. The Rev. Dr. Marvin L. Parli and the Rev. Kevin Starcher will officiate. Interment will follow in Maplewood Cemetery at Elkins, where the H.W. Daniel's Post 29 American Legion and Tygart Valley Post 3647 Veterans of Foreign Wars will conduct full military honors.
The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions of your choice; Elkins Fire Department, 216 Fourth St., Elkins, WV 26241 or the First Baptist Church, 412 Randolph Ave., Elkins, WV 26241. Lohr & Barb Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements for Robert Hall Baker. Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.lohrbarbfuneralhome.com.